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Federal Highway Act Sociology

Good Essays
Zac Chambers
July 14th, 2016
Sociology 230
Final Project Rough Draft

Federal Highway Act of 1956 and Black Poverty
This paper will analyze the extent to which the unforeseen consequences of the 1956 Federal Highway act negatively affected minority groups in the United States Citizens, specifically black neighborhoods. Since the construction of the highways took 35 years, the focus of this report will begin with the passing of the Highway act and last until the highway’s completion (1991) in order to include the full effects of negligent planning. This paper will discuss the displacement of citizens from their homes inside the United States, and attempt to examine the remnants of redlining in the U.S.
The Federal Highway Act of 1956 was passed
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The parties that passed these acts had the best intentions in mind, and intended to improve life in America. And on the larger scale, these acts were leaps forward, and shaped America into the country that it is today. Sweeping generalizations aside, however, there are several cases in which the Federal Highway Act actually ruined people’s lives, rather than improving them.
These Federal Highways, while brilliant in theory, were poorly planned. They were based off of the German Autobahns which Eisenhower had seen during World War Two, and were streamlined to optimize transportation time to all parts of America. Many of these highways were not planned out completely, and were simply drawn on the map where they would go, not realizing what was already there until construction had begun
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In Miami, an exchange of Interstate 95 took up 40 blocks of residential businesses and destroyed 10,000 homes and businesses (Blas). This is exactly what the Adequate Housing Act had guaranteed would not happen. The homes that were not directly destroyed by the highway decreased in value, as the constant noise and lights of the highway kept residents up at night (Blas). Many people had their front lawns seized by the government, with little to no compensation (Blas). One novelist, Homer Bigart, stated that the highways had “sent great rivers of concrete creeping like lava through residential neighborhoods and commercial areas, dislocating families, schools, churches, and
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